Oral health related quality of life in long-term survivors of head and neck cancer compared to a general population from the seventh Tromsø study
Methods: In this cross-sectional study we compared the oral health related quality of life (OHRQoL) of long-term HNC survivors to that of a general population cohort from the seventh survey of the Tromsø study with the Oral Impact on Daily Performances questionnaire. Comparisons were done with frequency analyses and cross tabulation. We also assessed OHRQoL’s association to sociodemographic and oral health related variables in both cohorts as well as with cancer related variables in the HNC cohort with regression analyses.
Results: The HNC survivors had four times the risk of reporting problems with daily performances compared with the general population cohort. The ability to eat and enjoy food was most frequently afected in both cohorts. Moderatepoor self-rated dental health and general health as well as high frequency of dental visits were signifcantly associated with poorer OHRQoL. To have a history of oral or pharyngeal cancer was associated with more problems than having a history of laryngeal cancer.
Conclusions: Our study shows that HNC treatment is associated with a strong and lasting impairment of OHRQoL, highlighting the need to fnd less toxic, yet efective ways to treat the disease, and to provide easy access to expert dental care at all stages of the disease to minimize morbidity. Given the widespread side efects of cancer treatment, a multidisciplinary approach might be required to improve the OHRQoL of HNC survivors.